Article of the week from the icelandic times
Food Fit for Kings - Minilik
Ethiopian culture in the North Atlantic
Minilik is an Ethiopian restaurant serving exquisite food. Located near the Smáralind Mall in Kópavogur, at Hlíðarsmári 15, Minilik is owned and operated by an Ethiopian couple, Lemlem Kahssay and Yirga Mekonnen.
The restaurant derives its name from Prince Minilik, son of the Queen of Sheba. According to the Bible, the Ethiopian queen visited King Solomon of Jerusalem to study his wisdom and presented him with gold and other precious gifts. They became lovers and upon her return to Ethiopia she gave birth to a child who she named Minilik, which means ‘the son of a wise man.’
Lemlem, a professional marathon runner and Yirga, a former journalist, have been living in Iceland for a number of years, raising their four children. Though they are both from Ethiopia, they met in Germany. “I persuaded her to move to Iceland,” says Yirga and adds playfully, “It is impossible to ‘escape’ from Iceland!”
When asked why they decided to open a restaurant, the couple reply, “Ethiopian culture is 3-4,000 years old and has a great culinary tradition. We wanted to share our tradition which is little known today as most of the news the world gets from Ethiopia is of hunger and famine. But Ethiopia has another huge side to it. We have 85 tribes, thus 85 dialects, 85 cultures with their own traditional songs and dances and culinary traditions. So, it is a rich and diverse culture and we are offering dishes which were served in Ethiopian palaces 3,000 years ago. Ethiopian restaurants are very popular all over Europe and the US and we were convinced the same would apply to Iceland.”
Minilik has been very well received by the Icelanders and it’s no wonder. The food is authentic and delicious, with herbs and spices imported from Ethiopia—a joy for the palette and fingers as guests use traditional Ethiopian bread (similar to crepes) instead of forks, to scoop up the food with their fingers.
The jewel in the Minilik crown is the coffee ceremony. Be sure not to miss it. Ethiopia is known as the ‘Mother of Coffee’ and at Minilik, guests can observe the process from start to finish; from the roasting of the washed coffee beans to the hostess pouring the aromatic and delicious brew into cups—as traditionally, only women can perform this ceremony.
The service at Minilik is warm and lovely. One cannot help feeling welcome and at home in this part of Africa moved to the northern Atlantic.
new location !
See more articles on what Iceland has to offer at www.icelandictimes.com